Bryant scored 21 points and Odom had 20 points and 16 rebounds in a 91-81 victory over the hapless Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night in Phil Jackson’s 500th game as Lakers’ coach.
“That’s what we need, that 1-2 punch,” Bryant said. “We’ll continue to provide that.”
Asked if it was his best game so far, Odom replied: “If you’re stat watching, maybe, but it’s the team effort that counts. We could’ve played better in the second half, but we gave ourselves enough of a cushion to sustain a victory.”
Mike Miller scored 21 points—tying his career high with six 3-pointers— and had 13 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who lost their fourth in a row overall and third straight on the road. They have yet to beat a Western Conference opponent.
“We played a good third quarter and put 32 points on the board, but when you go down 19 to a quality team on the road, it’s tough to come back,” Miller said. “That’s been the story of our season so far.”
Even Miller’s long-range success couldn’t overcome Memphis’ 38.4 field-goal percentage, which ranks last in the NBA.
“We have stretches in every game where we just don’t score the ball and you have to overcome those,” Memphis coach Mike Fratello said. “It makes it a little easier if you can single a guy out and say, `Here’s the ball, go get us a shot.’ That doesn’t happen all the time right now, so we have a lot to work on.”
The Lakers frittered away most of a 19-point halftime lead in the fourth quarter, when the Grizzlies got within seven.
“It just seems like we can never get over the hump,” Chucky Atkins said. “We can never make that shot or play or get that rebound that will put us over the top.”
Reserve Damon Stoudamire, who scored 16 points, hit a 3-pointer to pull Memphis within six. But Bryant scored the Lakers’ final seven points—on a 3-pointer, a jumper in the lane and two free throws—to close out the sloppy win.
“We had a good first half,” Jackson said. “I’m not so pleased with the second half. It looked like it was hard for us to sustain the effort.”
The Grizzlies trailed 72-62 to start the fourth quarter. They ran off 10 in a row—four each by Hakim Warrick and Stoudamire—to get to 79-72.
Parker made one of two free throws and then missed a jumper before Maurice Evans’ fast-break reverse dunk pushed the Lakers’ lead to 82-72 with 5:38 remaining.
Bryant started the final 12 minutes on the bench with the usual wrap around his surgically repaired right knee. He returned four minutes in and made a nifty bounce pass in the lane to a driving Parker, whose layup again kept the Lakers ahead by 10.
Memphis outscored Los Angeles 32-23 in the third, when Miller hit three 3-pointers and Bryant was limited to four points.
The Lakers are off until Friday when they host Toronto. … Lakers C Kwame Brown scored six points in his first game this season after being out with a sprained right shoulder. But the 19-year-old Bynum retained his starting spot. … Jackson’s 337 victories are third-most in team history behind Pat Riley (533) and John Kundla (423). … Grizzlies C Jake Tsakalidis missed his second straight game because of a sore right knee.